Playing Football with Students and Intangible-driven Economy in Perm and Vigo
HSE Campus in Perm has launched a series of research seminars at the International Laboratory of Intangible-driven Economy involving international experts. Leading Research Fellow of the Laboratory Angel Barajas from the University of Vigo (Spain) and head of the sports economy section Dennis C. Coates, from the University of Maryland (US) were involved in the seminar series. From June 14 to 18 the 3rd International Summer School on the Intangible-Driven Economy will take place. Key speakers will include IDLab's leading researchers. Dr. Barajas spoke to HSE English News about the seminar series, the summer school, intangibles in football economics and the FIFA crisis.
— Could you please tell us about the research seminars in Perm? What's the goal of such an intensive series of workshops?
— In our Lab, we have established a system of work that helps us to prepare and improve our papers. We use the workshops to present and discuss new ideas for papers, to introduce papers that are already ready to submit to conferences or journals, to discuss how to reply to reviewers if needed. All the members of the Lab can contribute to help each others' papers. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to get the qualified opinion of the International Researchers taking part in our activities. We, the international fellows of the Lab, all come to Perm together at least twice a year: now, and with opportunity of the iCare Conference that takes place in Perm, in September. This year we have organized an International Summer School that starts on June 14th. Senior researchers of the Lab will teach and help young researchers to design and start working on their own papers. We use our workshop to discuss how to design and create the databases that we need for our work. In that sense, we talk about the data that is relevant for the lines that our Lab is developing.
— You are focused on the economics of football, football clubs and basketball. That's attractive for millions of men and women as a sport and entertainment. What attracts you to this subject? How long have you been following and researching sport games and clubs?
— Sports in general are attractive to play or to watch. As I teach and research in finances, I am interested in the finances of sport. Even more so since professional sport clubs in Europe have been experiencing severe financial distresses a lot recently. I did my PhD in the valuation of football clubs and since then I have been linked to this field.
Moreover, sport is not an ordinary business which makes studying sports very interesting for academics. It has also been said that examining the sports industry in a laboratory can be a way to understand economic problems. And the sport industry is highly intensive in intangibles. For that reason, including a line of research in our Lab devoted to intangibles in sports was something convenient and Dennis Coates being one of our experts, it would be a pity not to develop it.
— How would you comment on the recent events in FIFA?
It is really sad that an institution that should be known for the promotion of a sport is in the news because of corruption. Anyway, it is going to be interesting to see how they manage the situation. This crisis offers an opportunity to create a new culture. I hope that now the values of sport will be significant in the management of the institution. Some intangible aspects have more presence now. The new board of FIFA is going to have to manage the intangible liabilities that have arisen due to the current scandals.
— What are your impressions of how Russian sports clubs are run?
— I am learning about them now, reading and following the work of Petr Parshakov and Iuliia Naidenova with some other members of our Lab. What I have seen is that there is a lack of transparency and they are not aware of the benefits that they could get from close cooperation with institutions like our Lab or the University.
— How did you start your cooperation with HSE in Perm? How much time do you spend here and how do you manage working in two countries?
— I was lecturing in a Summer School in Germany and I met Elena Shakina, the Head of our Lab. She invited me to come as guest lecturer 5 years ago. We started to prepare some papers and I have kept coming every year to teach. Later, the opportunity to apply for a research project came up and we were successful. The people here have always wanted to go forward. So, we applied for the International Lab and here we are working hard and trying to create a real academic school. We have plans for developing international cooperation. We would like to start a joint PhD program with European universities.
I try to join my lessons in my University to have some periods of time when I can come here, asking for corresponding permission in my University. I also use my holidays to come here. And members of the Lab have also visited the University of Vigo and Valladolid. Our commitment to the project is total.
— I can't resist to ask what's your favorite sport and what do you like more, to play or to watch?
— I like football very much. I usually play it on Wednesday with my students of the MBA in Sport on the extraordinary pitch that we have in our campus but I will have to retire one of these days.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service